WICHITA, KS – The Quad City Mallards defeated the Wichita Thunder 4-1 Saturday night, Olivier Archambault scoring twice to help seal a much needed victory. With the win tonight, the Mallards now lead the Tulsa Oilers for eighth place with three points, and are two points out of seventh place behind the Colorado Eagles.
“We need to grind games out; we can’t finesse games out,” Mallards Coach Terry Ruskowski said in an interview with The Sin Bin’s Matthew Harding.
Matt Carey opened the scoring less than halfway through the first period, with Jordan Knackstedt picking up an assist on that tally. Four minutes later, a rather interesting penalty was incurred by Zach Pochiro during a three-man scrum.
Logan Nelson received a two minute minor penalty for elbowing, which was followed by former Mallard Paxton Leroux delivering a few punches to Pochiro. He retaliated with an apparent attempt to bite Leroux. Pochiro received a match penalty for his attempt to deliberately injure under rule 21.1; he will possibly miss Tuesday’s game with a suspension after the league reviews the play. Pochiro also received two minutes for roughing for Leroux’s five for fighting and two minutes for instigating.
Early in the second period it appeared that the Mallards had scored again, but it was deemed to be hit with a high stick so was waved off. A few minutes later, Archambault netted his first of the night immediately after Domenic Alberga went to the box for slashing. Austin Coldwell and Sam Warning assisted on Archambault’s goal.
Leroux attempted to start his second fight of the night with Richard Nedomlel after Nedomlel’s hit on Martin Nemcik. Nedomlel hedged his bets and only took the two minutes for elbowing he was originally assessed by the referee, despite it appearing to be a clean hit.
The balance of the game appeared to shift in Wichita’s favor for the third period, sending 23 total shots against Brody Hoffman for the Mallards’ four.
“If it wasn’t for Hoffman in goal tending, we might have been in trouble tonight,” Coach Ruskowski said.
Mike Monfredo took what could have been a costly tripping penalty roughly five minutes into the final frame, but the Thunder were unable to capitalize on the resulting man-advantage. Monfredo then redeemed himself by sending the Mallards’ first shot of the period to the back of the net at 8:38 of the third period. Archambault earned another point with his assist on Monfredo’s goal, Warning getting another point as well.
The Thunder pulled goalie David Shantz with 4:45 left in the game in an attempt to even the score. Instead, Archambault scored his second empty-net goal in as many nights at 15:52.
Hoffman’s shutout came to an end less than a minute after the empty-net tally, Michael Neal scoring with assistance from Dean Chelios and Dalton Reum.
Hoffman earned his first two wins on consecutive nights this season, making 44 saves on the night.
“They were on us hard in the third period. Even though we won the game, it’s kind of give them momentum going into the game we play Tuesday,” Ruskowski said.
The Mallards return to action against the Thunder on Tuesday before traveling to face the Missouri Mavericks the following night. The game on Tuesday evening is scheduled for 7:05 CST.